Morning mail: Zuckerberg defiant, Prince Andrew accuser speaks, Ottolenghi's summer recipes

Helen Sullivan
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Tuesday 3 December.

Top stories

Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s policy of allowing false ads, comparing the alternative to censorship. Challenged on CBS over the policy, Zuckerberg refused to commit to any changes and was unmoved when Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, pointed out that 200 Facebook employees had written a letter asking Zuckerberg to reconsider as “free speech and paid speech are not the same”. Zuckerberg responded, “At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.” Google and YouTube have meanwhile pulled hundreds of ads for Donald Trump over the last few months. A review of the tech companies’ advertising archive found at least 300 Trump ads had been pulled from the platforms.

Jeremy Corbyn has urged Boris Johnson to break off trade talks with Donald Trump until any reference to pharmaceuticals is struck from Washington’s negotiating objectives. As the US president prepared to fly in on Monday evening to attend the Nato summit alongside other world leaders, the UK Labour leader wrote to the British prime minister to urge him to give fresh reassurances about NHS privatisation.

Offshore detention costs Australian taxpayers as much as $573,000 per person each year, according to a report from advocacy groups released as the independent senator Jacqui Lambie weighed up whether to support the repeal of medevac laws. This figure, from the At What Cost report, is on top of the $9bn spent on offshore processing and onshore mandatory detention between 2016 and 2020, showed in analysis of government figures undertaken for a report by Equity Economics.


The former prime minister Tony Abbott has been filmed leaving the Melbourne prison where the convicted paedophile Cardinal George Pell is being held, with the former Coalition leader saying he was there “visiting a friend”. Abbott was filmed leaving the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Monday morning by a Seven News crew, but refused to confirm exactly who in the jail he was visiting.

The American author Naomi Wolf has accused Australia’s embattled energy minister, Angus Taylor, of an “antisemitic dogwhistle”, and of falsely claiming they were at Oxford University together.

Labor has raised concerns that a new round of government drought grants could be politically exploited, as parliament’s audit committee agrees to examine the Coalition’s troubled regional jobs and investment scheme.

Journalist Tracey Spicer has accused three women of defamation after part one of her three-part documentary series Silent No More, about sexual assault and violence, was aired on the ABC.

The world

Virginia Giuffre appearing in an interview on the BBC’s Panorama. Photograph: BBC Panorama/PA

Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre has asked the public to stand by her. Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked as a teenager to have sex with friends of Jeffrey Epstein, including Prince Andrew, has implored the public to “not accept this as OK” in her first UK television interview.

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign will no longer issue press credentials to reporters for Bloomberg News – the agency owned by Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg.

Hot weather increases the risk of early childbirth, which in turn is linked to worse health and developmental outcomes for children, a major new study has found. The report could have fresh implications for the impact of the climate emergency on human health.

Recommended reads

The father of Jack Merritt, who died on Friday at London Bridge, writes that the attack has been used to reinforce the worldview his son fought against. “If Jack could comment on his death – and the tragic incident on Friday 29 November – he would be livid. We would see him ticking it over in his mind before a word was uttered between us. Jack would understand the political timing with visceral clarity. He would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against. We should never forget that. What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens.”

“When faced with weak economic growth, the government’s response has been to argue about the ‘the fundamentals’ and use the words of the governor of the RBA in July that they ‘are strong’,” writes Greg Jericho. “The prime minister suggested three times in September that the fundamentals are strong. The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has watered it down a little of late, telling Ross Greenwood on Melbourne Cup day that ‘the fundamentals of the economy are sound’ and Steve Price on 20 November that the fundamentals are ‘in a pretty good place’. All in all you would think things are going along swimmingly. So let’s have a look at some of the fundamentals.’”


The Guardian takes you inside one woman’s mission to create an army of Greta Thunbergs. Melanie Harwood is an education entrepreneur and self-styled “disruptor”, who has partnered with the United Nations to educate teachers and their students about climate change. Richard Sprenger joined her on a trip to Dubai, to witness her unorthodox approach first hand.


Giant prawns with grapefruit salad and fenugreek creme fraiche. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

“Don’t be put off this glorious salad if you’ve never butterflied a prawn: you’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a neat skill to have up your sleeve. Serve with steamed rice and maybe some stir-fried Asian greens.” Yotam Ottolenghi has 10 recipes perfect for the Australian summer, including giant prawns with grapefruit salad and fenugreek creme fraiche; fennel salad with pistachios and oven-dried grapes; and barbecue lamb tacos with pineapple pickle and chutney.


Tiger Woods. Photograph: JIJI/EPA

“I’ve finally come from behind to win a major. I know I can do that now,” Tiger Woods tells Ewan Murray. “Woods may not seem one for looking back but he has now revealed he has finally watched a rerun of that Augusta triumph in the company of his caddie, Joe LaCava, with a key recollection being a fear of failure mid-championship.”

Lewis Hamilton would be a major asset to Ferrari, according to the team’s young driver Charles Leclerc. His comments came after Hamilton refused to rule out a move to the Scuderia and Ferrari gave a complimentary reaction on his availability to join them in 2021.

Media roundup

The Australian reports that tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter “have unleashed a last-ditch round of political lobbying in Canberra” in response to the recommendations made by the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry. “Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt awarded a $2.2m contract to a company connected to prominent Liberal party donors and a former candidate to conduct Indigenous eye surgeries at double the market rate,” the Sydney Morning Herald reveals. On the ABC this morning, a man on the Sunshine Coast who cut his thumb almost off and has been waiting for surgery for three days “has endured long periods without food as doctors keep him prepared for surgeries that have been continually postponed”.

Coming up

The NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission public hearings into the strip-search of young people at an underage music festival continues in Sydney.

Federal parliament continues its last week of sittings for the year.

And if you’ve read this far …

The Danish artist Tal R has won an injunction against a pair of Faroese art provocateurs who wanted to cut up one of his paintings and use the canvas to make decorative faces for their line of designer wristwatches. Dann Thorleifsson and Arne Leivsgard, who five years ago founded the watch company Kankse, had purchased Paris Chic, one of Tal R’s brightly coloured Sexshops series, for £70,000 (AU$132,900) at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London in August.

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